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Once in Every Life

3.86  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,463 Ratings  ·  117 Reviews
Tess Gregory's brilliant career as a research scientist hides her longings for husband and child. Though deaf, she is a free spirit--a woman full of life and love. She is struck down all too soon

But for Tess, a new life begins at her death, in post-Civil War America. She is now Amarylis Rafferty, wife and mother of three--and she can hear. Shocked and disoriented by her ne
Paperback, 406 pages
Published December 23rd 1992 by Ballantine Books (first published January 1st 1992)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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This was only the best reincarnation-time travel romance out there!
This theme is a new one for mean I was especially looking for book where a different person gets stuck in a body that is already romantically involved. Believe me when I tell you that this setting makes all kind of romances fun.
Nevertheless, this one was very special because of super character developments and family interaction.
I was a bit uneasy with the fact that the hero even married his wife (who is now gone gone GONE) and h
Jasha Gutierrez
God, in His infinite wisdom, makes sure everyone gets one happy life before they move on

Our heroines life was so-so. When she died she never truly experienced perfect bliss. And so God gave her another chance; a chance of love and happiness.

Then, she met him in his wife's body.

Our hero puts EVERY turtored male hero you have EVER read to shame. He is scarred, wounded, and deathly afraid of himself. Life has stripped him of everything (read: his bi-atch of a wife) and left him an empty shell fill
Oct 25, 2012 Mydearloverboy rated it it was amazing
WOW!! Beautiful! I was crying like crazy...One of the best time-travel romance I have read and one of the best, awesome tortured hero ever!

Overall, this deserves about 10/5 stars if that was possible!!;p
Seattle, Washington 1994: Tess Gregory -a deaf physician- is walked into the street when she was hit by a bus. She awakes and can suddenly hear, after being deaf since the age of seven, and meets her 'guide' Carol. Carol informs Tess of her death but is given a new chance a life. Tess has the opportunity to select a new life, like a second chance. San Juan Island, Washington Territory, 1873: Tess wakes up in a hospital bed, next to a man. They are married, have three children and plenty of marri ...more
Oct 03, 2008 LJ rated it really liked it
Hannah, Kristin

Tess Gregory's brilliant career as a researach scientist hides her longings for a husband and child. Though deaf, she is a free spirit -- a woman full of life and love. She is struck down all too soon.

But for Tess, a new life begins at her death, in post-Civil War America. She is now Amarylis Rafferty, wife and mother of three -- and she can hear. Shocked and disoriented by her new surroundings, she is drawn into the savage heartache burdening the family, e
Dec 12, 2009 Deb rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2009-books-read
Despite the fantastical premise of the book, once the core story started, I couldn't put it down. And this was in spite of the fact that this novel is actually from the romance genre that I generally avoid.

Tess is a lonely microbiologist. She became deaf at age 7 from a bout with spinal meningitis, and spent her life being shunted from foster home to foster home. On her way home from work one evening, she's hit by a bus, and dies. During the death experience she's given a 2nd chance at life, th
Angela Jones
Jul 29, 2014 Angela Jones rated it it was ok
Not a fan of this book. I usually love everything Kristin Hannah writes, not this time. The story was so unrealistic and boring. Floating in and out of 3 names for the same character was exhausting. The tortured male character Jack was irritating, whiney and irritating. A 20th century women dies and is reincarnated into a women living in the 1800's with her 20th century mind and personality intact, sent to save a man and his family from his tortured and fearful self. All Tess/Amarylis/Lissa has ...more
When a book makes me cry, it deserves a 5 star rating!!
Aug 30, 2007 Kelly rated it liked it
I have to laugh -- this book first came out with a true bodice-ripper cover in metallic red with a step-back of a man and woman kissing. Kristen Hannah wrote a number of romance novels that all followed the same format -- wounded soul woman meets equally wounded soul man and they learn to love again. THEN she crossed over to mainstream fiction -- and it appears all her bodice rippers have been recovered to reflect her newer authorial status.

Anyhow, the book at hand: formulaic, but a good read. (
Jul 29, 2011 Stefanie rated it it was ok
I was excited to read this book after having read Winter Garden, but I was a bit disappointed. While it kept my interest, it was too schmalzy for my taste. It was more of a romance novel than historical fiction and the author overused a number if phrases and made some errors in the telling. For example, on my page 55 Tess says the last few weeks in her new life have been unbearable. 15 pages later she says that it has been one week. Jack's character also wasn't believable to me. If this had been ...more
Feb 02, 2015 Virginia rated it did not like it
Shelves: could-not-finish
I got to page 15 and had to put this down. The premise in Ms. Hannah's usually able hands is utterly absurd. A hearing-impaired woman in 1993 Seattle gets hit by a bus and gets to choose her second chance. She picks a family in the post Civil War era. I enjoy Kristin Hannah, but this one is simply ridiculous. Maybe another author could pull it off, but not this one.
Aug 05, 2012 Gail rated it it was ok
I love Kristin Hannah's books. They most always make me cry at some point. This wasn't my favorite and I had a hard time with the concept of the book...a second chance of a life in 1873?
Cona Hartwig
Jan 26, 2011 Cona Hartwig rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I'll have to admit I had reservations when starting it but it turned out to be such an enjoyable read that I've added it to my favorites.
Jun 03, 2015 Fatima rated it liked it
This is a pretty sweet story about a time travelling woman who heals a broken family. Think "Sarah Plain and Tall". Though it had it's moments, I must warn people there is definitely a religious element to this novel as praying/God plays a big role in the "healing" of the family. Also I got pretty annoyed around the 100th time the hero kept harping on about how he couldn't trust her and how she's just playing games with him. WE GET IT. But I guess since the whole story hinges upon that idea, it ...more
This was my first book that I read by Kristin Hannah and a difficult one to write an honest review. It started out a little slow. Then it caught my interest until, for the umpteenth time, I read that the hero, Jack, loved his wife but he couldn't stand her. Hello???

Even though there were children I found it hard to believe that if they were so unhappy for YEARS that he stayed married to Amarylis AND remained monogamous. I know Jack had a lot of baggage because of what happened during the Civil
Jul 31, 2011 Katya rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 31, 2013 Diochel rated it it was amazing
I am in utter amazement about this book. For the first time, a book this detailed and slow paced didn't even annoy or bore the hell out of me. Instead, I hang on every word and every move of the characters in this story. That's how hooked I am with this book. It's a real page-turner and I literally can't put the book down (thus, missing dinner) that I finished it within 8 hours straight. I learned a lot from this book especially about giving yourself and other people second chances and forgivene ...more
I've been wavering on whether to give this book 3 or 4 stars. After a lot of soul searching I've settled on 4 stars because it was simply a very enjoyable read and left me with an inner glow and a sappy smile. :D I'm on a time-travel binge and I especially enjoy the body swap theme. After having an accident our heroine, Tess, inhabits the body of a very unpleasant woman whose very sad and very dysfunctional family despises her, and rightly so. It was really poignant reading about the emotional s ...more
Apr 19, 2012 Jessica rated it liked it
I am having such a hard time getting in to this, but I will persevere. I am determined to read all of Kristin Hannah's work!

I am so torn how to rate this book. 2 or 3 stars. At the beginning I wanted to give 2 stars and thought that was generous, but about half way through I got more involved in the characters and by the end I felt much better about the overall story. Granted, I had to put aside the fact that it was ridiculously unrealistic premise to begin with. Maybe that's why I had such
Jul 15, 2016 Elizabeth rated it liked it
I have read everything Kristin Hannah has written and was surprised to find this early book published in 1992. Although I don't believe in reincarnation, it is fiction. It has an interesting premise that a woman dies in 1993 and has a chance at another life and she chooses, unwittingly, a life in the 1800's. Hannah's writing has improved by leaps and bounds since this book. She uses a lot of repetitive phrases (i.e., sagging board/steps/porch) but it is still an interesting read.
Apr 17, 2015 Lesli rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, lm-lib-loan, 2015
I don't like time travel books. They always seem unrealistic in obvious "break my suspension of disbelief" ways. This book, though, seems to pull of the concept fairly well. Yes, the time travel is couched as reincarnation; but it's still time travel. The main character is in no way prepared for being dropped 120 years in the past. The only strange bit is the weird way the author tries to maintain the tension in the story.
Dec 28, 2015 Marissa rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
The majority of this book functions as a historical fiction romance, set in the late 1800s. There's a very brief look at what had been Tess' present time, much closer to our own, and a very vague scene involving time travel/body swapping, however, it goes into no great detail. Tess and the reader merely suddenly find themselves in the past.

A particularly interesting feature is the note that reveals that some of the action is based, in part, on real-life occurrences and the author's in-laws' fam
Nov 30, 2014 Gr8Reader rated it liked it
I have conflicting feelings about this book. I did NOT like how Tess came to be where she was. I felt that it was too convoluted. I DID like the development of the story and Tess helped them become a true family. It was well written and other than the start the 'recap' of that part, I enjoyed the story. (Tried not to give away anything here.)
Sönïa Dhillion
This time travel romance was not the typical clique stuff. Its a rollercoaster of emotions, the heroine is strong and funny, determined, unconditionally loving, caring.

I felt so sad for the hero and kids but all worked out in the end.

My version of the characters.





Overall premise: 20th century microbiologist Tess is hit by a car and dies. She is given a choice of situations into which to be "reborn". She ends up being reincarnated in 1873 as Amarylis Rafferty, estranged wife of veteran Jack Rafferty, who had recently died in childbirth.

While Tess' body physically looked like Amarylis, in her mind, she was still the same person - including all her 20th century memories. This enabled her to be able to recognize the symptoms of PTSD and dyslexia - helping b
Ann Vocella
Dec 06, 2014 Ann Vocella rated it liked it
This book started out well but kinda of fizzled out early. I was hoping for some historical development and better characters. The 4 main characters Jack, Lissa, Savannah, Katy had so much potential but they were only developed enough to keep the story moving. It was a good story - but could have been a great story with a bit more effort.
Jul 09, 2014 Erin rated it really liked it
Kristin Hannah actually was inspired to write this story after learning of events surrounding San Juan Island in 1873 from her in laws. While the stories fantastical beginning may make some turn up their noses, the heart of the story was a really good read.
4.5 stars

If the chance that had been given to Tess, was given to me I would have chosen Cowboy or the Knight... :sigh: But her choice was good as well. Jack impressed me, he had patience that not most of men have. All those years, he was with a wife who had treated him more like an enemy than husband. Who had treated her own girls like stepgirls. He had his faults but also he had his own reasons.
I was sorry for elder girl, Savannah. I thought it was too late for her because of her age but I was
Juliann T
Jan 23, 2016 Juliann T rated it liked it
A real romance novel. Cute but nothing special. Ridiculous how a research scientist would be happy to be a housewife in 1873.
Melissa Hall-klotzbuecher
Mar 26, 2014 Melissa Hall-klotzbuecher rated it it was amazing
This is my well loved, read hundreds of times book. When I am down I pick this up because it always make me feel better.
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Is there another book like this one? 1 2 Apr 24, 2016 04:46PM  
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Kristin Hannah is the New York Times bestselling author of twenty-one novels, including the blockbuster Firefly Lane and #1 bestsellers Night Road and Home Front. She is a former lawyer turned writer and is the mother of one son. She lives in the Pacific Northwest and Hawaii with her husband.
More about Kristin Hannah...

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